Advanced theater class project gets personal

Published: May 28,2015 | Posted: June 3, 2015 | Written by: Leslie Espinoza

Theater Director Jodi Julian’s advanced musical theater class held a free play at the RCC campus.

The play showcased a collection of self-written student cabarets titled, “Letters to My Five-Year-Old Self.”

This was the first year that Julian believed the students in her advanced musical theater class were mature enough to be able to write about themselves and share it with an audience.

The set was made to look as if it were an abandoned home with a dingy staircase, graffiti on the walls and a window sealed shut by wooden frames.

As each act changed there were some props that were changed around for each performer as well.

The stage was always adorned with something new for each act.

Brandon Wright opened up the cabaret singing about how he wanted to build cars with jet wings, when he went through his chef phase and wanting to be Pocahontas for a while as well.

At one point during his act Wright even shared his private journal with the audience

Wright was exceptional and entertaining throughout his act.

His act later transitioned into some tougher parts in his life which tugged on the audience’s heartstrings.

He talked about how much he misses his grandma and how she told him to not be afraid to chase his dreams.

Some sniffles were definitely heard in the audience as he finished his amazing act.

Each and every act was amazing in itself and it was incredible to see how every student’s act and stories were so diverse.

There were funny parts in each set, like Koda Montoya’s performance where he wore a boa and tap danced all while singing that he was born to entertain.

The theater filled with laughter from just about every single person in the audience.

Not to mention, DarRand Hall’s act as well he had the crowd laughing as he pokes fun of himself as he was younger.

He also encourages himself to not change the way he is all while singing with an amazing voice.

There were also parts where one couldn’t help but feel that knot in your throat while watching the students perform.

Charles Jenkins spoke about the absence of his parents in his home and how he went from foster home to foster home with his siblings.

To being separated by his siblings at one point which was very heart-wrenching to hear.

A box of tissues should have been provided along with the fliers at the entrance, because plenty of sniffling was heard throughout the audience.

Closing the program was Nicholas Alexander; as soon as he walked out he commanded the stage with his voice and presence.

He spoke about how dishonest he used to be and how music was his escape.

Music has helped him become the person he wanted to be.

He even played the piano at a certain point while singing his own song which was a great way to end his performance.

However, going on stage wasn’t easy for Alexander a few years back.

“He wouldn’t go on (stage) his first year and now he’s writing his own stuff.” Julian said.

This might be the exact reason Alexander was awarded Student of Distinction at the end of the event.

Only one student is chosen per year and Julian believed they chose the strongest performer this year.

As his professor announced the Student of Distinction at the end of the event, Alexander couldn’t help but get emotional when he found out he was chosen.

“It was a complete shock… I didn’t even know I was considered for it. I’m just so excited and happy and honored to be Student of Distinction, It’s awesome,” Alexander said.

“It shows me how much I have grown over the years here at RCC and makes me appreciate the program here…It’s awesome to have your work appreciated and noticed.”

Every single student was extremely brave for being able to go on stage to talk and sing about their personal life to a room full of complete strangers.

“There were several rewrites because you’re focusing on a subject that is so personal…it makes it so hard to get it all out,” said performer Elisa Thomas.

Not only did each student teach the audience something about themselves, but they learned things about themselves as well.

“I learned that I came so far and now I can help people,” said performer Cliff Dwayne.

Every performer did an amazing job sharing their stories with the audience.

It was like they were granting the audience permission into the deepest most vulnerable parts of their lives.

It made me feel like I knew that person up on stage and that’s how one should feel after seeing so many heartfelt performances.

Leaving this performance I couldn’t help but have one question in my mind.

What would I say to my five year old self?